Saturday, October 26, 2013

US financial TV journalists shocked that top US bank is paying $13bn fine

The Week magazine says Wednesday night's popular US 'Daily Show' hosted by Jon Stewart focused on JPMorgan Chase, which agreed to a $13bn fine by the US government for selling dodgy mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

In 2008, the bank had acquired Bear Stearns, a failing investment bank, and Seattle based Washington Mutual, a home loans operation, with the cooperation of US regulators.

To Jon Stewart, and most of the financial press, JPMorgan's tentative settlement with the Justice Department and New York State is "a mutually negotiated compensatory agreement for outstanding liabilities related to some shady business dealings," as Stewart put it.

Stewart suggested that the talking heads on CNBC and Fox Business News should be equally pleased that somebody is finally facing some consequences for helping cause the Great Recession. Nope. To Jim Cramer, Maria Bartiromo, Charlie Gasparino, and the other stars of financial TV news, he noted, the $13bn fine is "a shakedown witch-hunt scalping jihad!" And Stewart has the video evidence to prove it.

As for JPM, an analysis by the NYT says Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual may have contributed $16bn in net income since the end of 2008.

Besides, the assets were deeply discounted when consolidated in JPM’s accounts.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Paul Collier on migration and diversity

Paul Collier is the co-director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University and professor of economics and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. He took a five year Public Service leave, 1998-2003, during which he was director of the Research Development Department of the World Bank.

The author of "Exodus" explains why debates about immigration should really be about estimating the value, and limits, of diversity in society.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A woman to head Federal Reserve 100 years after its creation

President Obama nominates Dr. Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve. Dr. Yellen has served in leadership positions at the Fed for more than a decade, including the last three years as vice chair. She also served previously as the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and was a leading researcher in monetary economics at Harvard and Berkeley.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Yellen would be the first woman to hold the position of chair of the Federal Reserve, 100 years after the creation of the US central bank.

Janet Yellen who is 67, was born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a family doctor and her mother was a teacher.

At high school, she won a place to study maths at Brown University, but switched to economics, a subject she saw as more useful.

In her first job at  Harvard in 1971, she lectured to Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary, who was expected to get the nomination.

Yellen took office as vice chair of the Fed in October 2010, for a four-year term.  She is professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley and her husband George Akerlof is a professor of economics at Berkeley and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics. Their son, Dr. Robert Akerlof, is an economist at the University of Warwick in the UK.

Finfacts: The Federal Reserve and the paranoid style in American Politics - -

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Irish office values could rise 20%

Financial Times Ireland correspondent Jamie Smyth speaks to Enda Luddy, head of the Dublin office of property advisers CBRE, about his prediction of up to a 20% rise in office values in the Irish capital, in a sector which still faces major problems in rural areas.

Finfacts report: Irish commercial property returns rose in Q2 2013; Highest in almost six years